New Cougar Sighting Reported In Malvern In The Last Three Years, Dozens Of Sightings Have Been Reported South And West Of Philadelphia.

Posted: June 19, 1997

MALVERN — It's summertime, and the cougar is travelin'.

Around midnight Tuesday, it was seen again.

Last year, it was prowling around the graves of old soldiers. This time, the big cat was roaming a quiet neighborhood of Victorian homes hard by the densely wooded, 125-acre Malvern Retreat.

Borough police said yesterday that a resident of the 100 block of Church Street reported sighting a cougar from the window of her home.

According to Borough Police Chief John C. Rychlak, the woman described ``a large animal walking in a northbound direction in the middle of the street. She said she believed the animal was a mountain lion and described it as being light brown in color with a long thin tail.''

About a year ago, a resident of the Tidewater development on South Sugartown Road in the borough reported seeing a cougar in the area of the Revolutionary War monument grounds on Monument Avenue, Rychlak said.

Michael Doherty, northern Chester County wildlife conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said yesterday that no one had informed him of the Malvern sighting.

Doherty said the last reported cougar sighting in his territory was in the fall of 1996 in Honey Brook Township. Doherty said he did find a footprint - but it was canine and not feline.

``It could have been the track of a large Lab,'' Doherty said of what he found in Honey Brook.

In 1967, a cougar was killed in Pennsylvania, but it turned out to be an escaped pet from Ohio, Doherty said.

Over the last three years, there there have been dozens of cougar sightings around Chester and Delaware Counties, Southwest Philadelphia and the state of Delaware, but the cat has eluded hunters and trackers, crossing major highways including the Blue Route and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Anyone with additional information may contact Malvern police at 610-647-1440.

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